Photo of Hokusai crater by MESSENGER
Hokusai is a rayed impact crater on Mercury, which was discovered in 1991 by ground-based radar observations conducted at Goldstone Observatory. The crater was initially known as feature B. Its appearance was so dissimilar to other impact craters that it was once thought to be a shield volcano. However improved radar images by the Arecibo Observatory obtained later in 2000–2005 clearly showed that feature B is an impact crater with an extensive ray system. The bright appearance of rays in the radio images indicates that the crater is geologically young; fresh impact ejecta has a rough surface, which leads to strong scattering of radio waves.
Hokusai is named after Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), a Japanese artist and printmaker of the Edo period. The name Hokusai was suggested by radar astronomer John K. Harmon. The crater has a diameter of about 100 km; the rays extend for thousands kilometers, covering much of the northern hemisphere.
- "Ten Craters On Mercury Receive New Names". SpaceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- Harmon, John K.; Slade, Martin A.; Butler, Bryan J.; et al., J; Rice, M; Campbell, D (2007). "Mercury: Radar images of the equatorial and midlatitude zones". Icarus 187 (2): 374–405. Bibcode:2007Icar..187..374H. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2006.09.026.
- "Hokusai Paints a Wave of Rays". NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "PIA11356: Looking Back to the Source". NASA. October 6, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
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